The proud shipbuilding history of Harrington has been brought back to life through the latest Harrington Chamber of Commerce project.
The Harrington Heritage Riverwalk was launched on Monday, September 21 and includes nine signs along the foreshore, from the boat ramp at Gordon Smith Reserve to the western end of Pretoria Street, which detail the ships built in the area, primarily by Alexander Newton.
The project team, led by Cliff Hoare, Phil West, David Muir and Kym and Roger Stanley, were joined by Member for Lyne Dr David Gillespie, MidCoast Council general manager Adrian Panuccio and mayor David West to unveil the signs.
Mr Hoare, the chamber president, said the launch was the culmination of 18 months of hard work.
"I'm looking at this being a boost to the Harrington economy and for people to come here and see what Harrington is about," he said.
"We have a treasure trove of history here and I want to bring it back to the public."
Other contributors included Jo Studdert, Tim Yapp, Peter Langdown and Harrington Lions Club, who assisted with the wording, restoration of images, sign installation and clean up of the Alexander Newton bollard.
Alexander Newton's great great granddaughters, Jenny New and Helen McCann, helped unveil The Newtons of Pelican: Pioneers, Shipbuilders, Mariners sign with Dr Gillespie and Mrs Stanley.
"We're delighted to be here to open the walkway," Mrs McCann said.
Mrs New noted a photo of Alexander Newton's son, Alexander Newton junior, on the sign.
"My father always said to me he's the funniest man alive... but he's not alive anymore," Mrs New said.
Mr Hoare said the signs will serve an education purpose for those who frequently walk along the river.
"Harrington was the largest shipbuilding centre in the southern hemisphere during the 1850s and remained so until the railway came to Taree in 1913," Mr Hoare explained.
"Alexander Newton was the largest shipbuilder on the Manning River and built many boats that travelled as far as New Zealand and America.
"They sailed the world and took produce from the Manning to many parts of the east coast of Australia."
Each sign has a QR code which provide further information. The codes will become active in the next week.
We have a treasure trove of history here and I want to bring it back to the public.Cliff Hoare, Harrington Chamber of Commerce president
The project was funded through the chamber and a federal government grant.
"This is a great local project that highlights some interesting parts of our local history, particularly the early boom times that occurred 200 years ago," Dr Gillespie said.
"This is a great walk for locals and tourists alike along the banks of the Manning River.
"It will preserve and promote the history of the Harrington area for future generations to experience."
Cr West said Alexander Newton recognised the importance of the Manning River to trade.
The river walk will ensure this part of history won't be forgotten.
"It tells the history by those who created the history and it's telling the story of success," Cr West said.
The work isn't done just yet.
Dr Gillespie will be approached by the chamber for funding to install directional signs to the walk on Harrington Road and Beach Street. A design already has council approval.
Further down the track, the chamber hopes to install a large sign near the Pacific Highway.
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